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Tips for getting the most out of OS X Yosemite

Yosemite's "dark mode." Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

“Dark mode” is just one of OS X Yosemite’s great new features. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

OS X Yosemite packs a lot of new features inside a cleaner, flatter interface on the Mac. It’s a big upgrade, and there’s a lot to take in at first glance.

Whether you’re a Mac novice or a seasoned expert, there’s plenty to explore in the latest version of OS X. Wondering how to get started? Here are some of the best tips and tricks for getting the most out of Yosemite: 

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How to save money and time with iOS 8’s Family Sharing feature

familysharing

iOS 8’s new Family Sharing feature makes it easier than ever for your entire family to share purchases on iTunes, iBooks and the App Store.

Family Sharing is about more than just sneaking copies of apps off your siblings’ accounts, though: It can bring harmony to your entire digital life by sharing photos, creating a family calendar and even keeping track of each others’ locations.

With minimal effort, you can sync up to six accounts. Here’s how to maximize Family Sharing’s potential.

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How to install iOS 8’s most wicked widgets

How to install iOS 8’s most wicked widgets

The ability to add widgets to your Notifications dock is easily one of iOS 8’s most useful additions. The new functionality puts some of your favorite apps’ features right at your fingertips.

Only a limited number of apps offer widgets currently, but with developers hard at work you can be sure many more are on the way. In today’s Cult of Mac video, we show you how to install widgets in iOS 8 so you can get started enjoying what’s available now.

In this instructional video, we also give you a look at some of our personal favorites. See how widgets can make managing your to-do list, journaling and checking out your favorite teams’ sports scores easier than ever.

Subscribe to Cult of Mac TV on YouTube to catch all our latest videos.

Use AirDrop to share files between OS X Yosemite and iOS 8

Photo: Apple

AirDrop gives iOS 8 users no-fuss, no-muss file sharing. Photo: Apple

When you need to move files quickly between two Apple devices, AirDrop is an incredibly useful tool. It started out as a Mac-to-Mac thing, and then iPhone-to-iPhone, but with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, AirDrop becomes even more powerful: Now you can share files from Mac to iPhone (or iPad) and vice versa.

Here’s how.

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A definitive guide to third-party keyboards in iOS 8

Minuum is one of the many third-party keyboards for iOS 8. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Minuum is one of the many third-party keyboards for iOS 8. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With iOS 8, iPhone and iPad owners for the first time ever can replace Apple’s default virtual keyboard with a third-party alternative.

Doing so — with keyboards made by SwiftKey, Swype, Fleksy and others — could vastly improve your touchscreen typing experience. Not only do some of these keyboards make typing easier, but they also boast innovative features, like the ability to type words using simple swipes instead of taps. Many of these keyboards are completely customizable, so you can set their size and color scheme to suit you.

If you haven’t already installed a third-party keyboard, you’re missing out on one of iOS 8’s best features. In this guide, first we’ll tell you about the best keyboards available from the App Store right now. We’ll also run through the features that make them unique, show you how you can customize them and make them work for you, and explain some important concepts, such as “Full Access.”

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How to use Continuity and Handoff with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Continuity and Handoff are great — at least the parts that work. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Continuity and Handoff sound great on paper. They let you transfer certain documents and data between your Mac and your iPhone or iPad, provided both are running the latest Apple system software — iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, which is currently in public beta.

When Continuity and Handoff work, it’s a brilliant display of Apple’s vision for truly interconnected devices. When they don’t, it’s frustrating. Some of the features work flawlessly for me, while others don’t function as advertised (at least on my gear — here’s a compatibility chart that will tell you if your gear is new enough to work with Handoff and Continuity). It’s probably because Yosemite’s in beta — it makes sense that not all features work right now. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

Ready to take the plunge? Here’s how to get set started, plus a brief look at the Handoff and Continuity features I was able to get working (and a few more that I was not).

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How to use iCloud Drive the right way

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With these handy tips (and warnings), you’ll master iCloud Drive in no time. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

If you haven’t been scared off cloud services by the Fappening or past horrors like MobileMe, you might want to try iCloud Drive, Apple’s answer to Dropbox and Google Drive. It’s a pretty great concept, an extension of the Apple philosophy from way back – documents are identified by the apps they were created by. Before, though, you needed to export a file from a drawing app to use it with a painting app. With iCloud Drive, you’ll be able to move from one app to another much more easily.

Before you begin, make sure you’ve read and understand the warning about using iCloud Drive if you haven’t yet installed OS X Yosemite on your Mac. If you haven’t installed the Yosemite public beta, apps on your iOS 8 devices will be unable to share data with companion apps on your Mac. Consider yourself warned.

If you choose to enable iCloud Drive on your iOS 8 device, and you have an OS X Yosemite beta installed on your Mac, here’s how to use it the right way.

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How to master Messages in iOS 8

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Tons of new features make iOS 8’s Messages app more powerful than ever. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ve pretty much become a full-time texter these days, using Apple’s Messages app on my Mac and iPhone to send iMessages (to friends and contacts who use iOS or OS X) as well as regular text messages (to people outside the Apple ecosystem).

iOS 8 brings great new changes to the mobile version of the Messages app, some of which might not be immediately apparent. Here’s a look at the new features and how best to use them.

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How to use iOS 8 like a boss

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Make the most of iOS 8 with these tips and tricks. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You don’t need a new iPhone to enjoy the awesome power of iOS 8. Loaded with new features and built-in apps, Apple’s latest mobile OS is its most powerful yet.

As intuitive as it is, there are plenty of tips and tricks that will help you truly get the most out of iOS 8 — even starting before you pull the trigger on the free upgrade. Just in case you don’t feel like reading all 182 pages of Apple’s official iOS 8 user guide, here’s a roundup of Cult of Mac’s most helpful iOS 8 tips and tricks. (We will update this post as we dive deeper into iOS 8 in coming weeks.)

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How to start enjoying third-party keyboards in iOS 8

How to start enjoying third-party keyboards in iOS 8

iOS 8 finally gives iPhone users a feature Android owners have long loved: third-party keyboards.

It’s a pretty familiar feature, but unleashing developers so they can create new keyboards for the iPhone (and iPad) is huge — and users being able to enjoy them all is even better.

In today’s Cult of Mac video, we show you how to install third-party keyboards in iOS 8 and introduce you to some of our favorite available custom keyboards. You’ll find out how to wipe to type your messages, give your keyboards themes and much more with this instructional video.

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